Give thanks in all circumstances.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV
For me this is actually one of the more brilliant passages of scripture. First of all, notice what it does NOT say. We may be tempted to misread it thinking it says, "Give thanks for all circumstances." And we would immediately think of some of life's circumstances which are awful and wonder why we should ever give thanks for something like that! When genuinely bad things happen, we should never give thanks for them. Thank goodness our scripture doesn't tell us to do that!
But, what this scripture does say is, "Give thanks in all circumstances." (Italics mine) There is a subtle, but very important difference. Giving thanks for all circumstances means we are somehow supposed to call evil good - and the core of our very beings reacts negatively against that.
But giving thanks in all circumstances means that even in the midst of the tragedies of life, God can and will work to create something good - often in response to the tragedy. For example, when someone is hurt or in trouble and someone else is willing to risk their own life to try to save them. Or, when someone is suffering and another person comes alongside them to be with them in their time of need. If we have eyes of faith, often times we can see the things for which to give thanks, even in the darkest times of life. They are the light of God's love shining through the cracks in the darkness.
In our Lords' Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask God to "deliver us from evil." I pray that you will not have to face the circumstances of life that fall into the category of "evil," but when you do, look for the love of God breaking through. It may be one reason that you can genuinely "Give thanks in all circumstances."
Prayer for Today
Gracious God, we wish the circumstances of life were always good, all of the time - but they are not. For some of us our circumstances seem worse than for others. Lord, keep us from those difficult circumstances as much as possible, but when we face them - help us to see the reason to "Give thanks in all circumstances." We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.